Pain Pill Abuse Drives Rise in ER Visits

Health Buzz: Pain Pill Abuse Drives Rise in ER Visits

By Megan Johnson

Posted: June 18, 2010

Prescription painkiller abuse is mounting, according to a new report from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration. Hospital emergency rooms are treating more than
twice the number of cases they did a few years ago, researchers found. One of
the most abused pain medicines, OxyContin, led to about 105,000 ER visits in 2008,
up 152 percent from visits in 2004, HealthDay reports. Experts are concerned about
the trend and its impact on public health. Peter Delany, the director of the Office
of Applied Studies at SAMHSA, told HealthDay the trend is likely a result of the
drugs' increasing availability. "We know that some young kids are taking these things from their parents' medicine cabinets," he said. In other cases, he said, people don't use up all of the pills prescribed to them, and the leftover pills "are making their way into non-medical use."